Tamil Love Poetry and Poetics 9004100423, 9789004100428

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Tamil Love Poetry and Poetics
 9004100423, 9789004100428

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KEGr S We tentatively assign the date of the anthologization of the earliest anthologies to the 4th Cent. A.D. and the anthologization of Air. to the 5th Cent. A.D. As for the dating of the invocatory stanza by Peruntévanar,

or of the ‘super-anthologization’ of [Ettu-t] Tokai and [Pattu-p] Pattu,

see ZTL, pp. 82 ff.


Conclusion to Chapters 2, 3, and 4

To sum up: the chronology of the erudite works, the texts of classical poetry, and other texts is as follows: 1-3 C. A.D. the earliest corpus of akam poetry (compiled in Kur., Nar. and Ak.); the old layer of TP (Chaps. 1, 3, 4 and 5); 4C. A.D. anthologization of Kur., Nar. and Ak.; the oldest body of the colophons (turais); composition of the poems in Air.; 5 C. A.D. composition of the poems in Kal.; the new layer of TP and

5-6 C. 8C. 12C.

its final redaction;

. composition of IA; the main corpus of the colophons;

. Nakkirar’s commentary on IA (IAC); Tlam.’s commentary



'3 Xavier S. Thani Nayakam, Landscape and Poetry, Bombay, 1966, p. 7.


13 C. A.D. 14C. A.D.



Péra.’s commentary on TP; composition of AV; Nacc.’s commentary on TP.





In the Introduction (Chap. 1), we discussed the several constituents of mutal and karu which are essential to the actual reading of the texts.

We shall now briefly discuss the descriptions in the grammars with regard to mutal and karu and then compare them with the descriptions of mutal and karu found in the poems.

The descriptions of mutal and karu in the erudite works follow the

treatment in TP rather closely. There are a few additions to TP’s descriptions in the later works, although many modern scholars do not

make a distinction between the later additions and the original description in TP.

5.1. Mutal TP 4 states that mutal consists of ‘place’ (nilam) and ‘time’ (polutu).


‘places’ pertinent to each

tinai are ‘the forest region’ (katu-urai

ulakam) to mullai tinai, ‘the black mountain region’ (mai-varai ulakam) to kurinici, ‘the region of sweet water’ (tim-punal ulakam) to marutam, and ‘the region of extensive sand’ (perum-manal ulakam) to neytal (TP

5). Thus TP does not refer to the ‘place’ pertinent to palai tinat since, according to the commentators and later scholars, there are no ‘deserts’ in the Tamil country. They hold the view that palai tinai has no ‘specific’ tract but has a ‘situational desert’, since the tract of mountains

and forests becomes a desert due to the fierce heat in the summer.

As evidence in favour of this, they often quote a passage from Cilappatikaram: Cil. 11:62-66, which runs, “the jungle (mullat) and mountain tracts (kurifici) have given up their natural appearance and taken the form of a desert (pdalai), losing their smooth surfaces, thus causing deep distress, since the King Sun, along with his minister Spring (vénil), by reason of his fierce heat, has diminished his essential quality and lost

his beneficence.”!

The references in TP regarding the ‘time’ pertinent to each tinai are tabulated in Chart 13. The terms, perumpolutu (lit. ‘big - time’) or ‘season’, and

cirupolutu (lit. ‘small — time’) or the ‘time of day and

1 Tr, V.R. Ramachandra Dikshitar, The Cilappatikaram, p. 194. (N.B. parentheses added by the author.)






Times of

| neytal|

Rater (7)

[mun] pani(8)


day andnight | ¥44™(7) |



1. kar

2. kitir




1. kalas

2. nanpakal



late winter

= 2-3.


4-5 6-7

(dvani, purattdci) (markali, tat)

(mai, parikuni)

(cittirat, vatkact) (ani, ats)

6. vaikarai



= Skt. season




palai palai

vasanta grisma







(atppact, karttikai) kurifici sarad


5.yamam_ —








mediaeval assignments

{early] morning







kar (6)


CHART cirupolutu




cold season

5.ilavénl early summer 6. mutuvénil summer

mullai | marutam

months (Tamil months)

rainy season early winter

13 vend(11)

CHART perumpolutu renderings













night’, are of late origin and TP itself does not use them. Unlike the later grammars, TP does not divide vénil into davénil and mutuvénil.

Although TP makes no mention of the correspondence of each ‘season’

or ‘time’ to the actual months or hours, later savants divide a year (12

months) and a day (24 hours) into six equal segments (of 2 months each and 4 hours each) and allot these segments to each of the 6 divisions of the ‘season’ and ‘time’, as illustrated in Charts

14 and


The descriptions of the ‘place’ in the actual texts correspond to the descriptions in TP and the other grammars, although there are some poems which manifest mixed tinais (tinaimayakkam). However, the view that palai tinai does not have a ‘specific’ tract, but has a ‘situational

desert’, seems incorrect. In the texts dealing with the themes of elope-

ment (see 6.20-6.24 in Chap. 6) and 6.32), a great number of the poems left behind (i.e. the mother in the and maid in case of separation for

separation in pursuit of wealth (see describe what those who have been case of elopement, and the heroine wealth) think about the hardship

during the journey through the barren and hot tract. If the kurifici or



mullai tract changes into a barren tract because of the heat of the sun in summer, the place where those who are left behind remain, i.e. the kurinici or mullai tracts, would also change into a desert. Hence, the

specific tract for palat must have existed within the framework of akam literature.” The descriptions of polutu (season and time of day) in the actual poems also mostly correspond with the descriptions in the erudite works. The ‘season’ described in the ‘poems which are to be classified under

kuririci tinai’ (hereafter abbreviated as the ‘kurinici poems’) is ‘autumn’

when the tinai millet crops or ‘winter’ when

the clouds send down driz-

zling rain. The ‘season’ mentioned in the palai poems is always ‘summer of scorching heat’. The mullai texts refer exclusively to the ‘rainy sea-

son’ as their season.

In the neytal and marutam texts, no specific season

is referred to.> Thus the importance of the season appears to vary from tinai to tinai. The description of the hot summer or the rainy season

is almost indispensable in the palai or the mullai texts.

The kurinct

poems, on the other hand, quite often make no mention of the ‘season’. As for the treatment of the ‘time’ of a day in the texts, the major part of the palai texts describes midday, and many texts classified

under mullai tinai depict exclusively the evening scene. On the other hand, although many kuririci poems deal with the nighttime which is prescribed by the grammarians as the time pertinent to kuririci tinai, there are also numerous

kuririci texts which

refer to the daytime;


example, the texts treating the themes such as ‘the first meeting of lovers’ (iyarkaippunarcci; see 6.1), ‘day-tryst’ (pakar-kuri; 6.10-6.11), etc. Among the neytal texts, those referring to evening (prescribed time to neytal tinai) are less numerous than those dealing with daytime (see the themes of iyarkaippunarcci, pakarkuri and others). In addition, we have several neytal poems which mention the nocturnal tryst of lovers. Early morning, the time pertinent to marutam tinai according to the grammars, is rarely described in the marutam poems; indeed, many of them deal only with daytime.

Thus the descriptions in TP (since the later grammars follow TP)

with regard to the ‘time’ pertinent to kuririci, neytal and marutam seem 2

The idea that the Tamil country consists of ‘four tracts’ (ndnilam), that is,

kurtrici, neytal, mullai and marutam, is revealed in several texts. Especially the idea that the king should rule over a country which possesses all four types of land often occurs (Pur. 17, 49, etc.; cf. TTCP, p. 108). The term nanilam itself may be of late origin, since it first occurs in the late classical texts (Paripdtal 13:34 and

Cilappatikaram 22:59). 3

Many marutam poems refer to the pond filled with water and to the flood of

the river (especially putuppunal, ‘the on-coming of freshes in a river’). This may

imply that the season for marutam tinai is the wet season (most probably kar, ‘rainy

season’), since it is clearly distinguished from the dry season in South India.




only partly appropriate to the actual texts. Nevertheless, since the time of the medieval commentators (e.g. Ilam.’s comm. on TP 12), many scholars have tried to find plausible reasons for the TP’s description. Concerning ‘midnight’ allotted by TP to kuririci tinai, for example, E. S. Varadaraja Iyer explains, “the Uripporul of Kurinji is Punartal or conjugal union. ...this kind of union needs a solitary place. It is wellknown that people generally do not stir out during Kitir or cold season or during mid-night. Hence the suitability of the time to the action.”* However, the conjugal union, as mentioned above, is treated not only in

the kuririci texts but also in the neytal poems, and it frequently occurs during daytime, as is mentioned by texts dealing with ‘day meeting’. 5.2. Karu

TP 20 enumerates the following eight items as components of karu; god (teyuam), food (undvu), beast (ma), tree (maram), bird (pul), drum

(parat), occupation (ceyti) and [musical] instrument (ya). In it, TP says, “karu consists of these [eight] and others” (avvakai piravum karu), and hence the author must have regarded some other items as components of karu.

To these eight components,

Ilam. adds ‘melody-type’

(pan), ‘flower’ (pti) and ‘water’ (nir) (T'P 20, comm.). Nacc. enumerates three more items, ‘water’, ‘flower’ and ‘village’ (ur) in addition to the original eight components (TPN 18, comm.). AV 19 enumerates 14 kinds of components; 8 mentioned in TP, ‘melody-type’, ‘flower’, ‘water’, ‘village’, and two kinds of ‘people’ (high and low). TP 5 mentions the ‘god’ pertinent to each tinai; mullai - Mayon (Vishnu), kurivici - Ceyon (Murugan), marutam - Véntan (Indra), and

neytal - Varunan (Varuna). However, TP makes no mention of the ‘food’ and other items pertinent to each tinat; it is the medieval savants

who enumerate them in detail. Besides, TP says that ‘flowers’ and ‘birds’ peculiar to a tract may go to another tract (TP 21). Thus, we cannot compare the descriptions of elements of karu in the poems directly with TP’s descriptions, but only with the descriptions by later savants.

The frequency of each element’s occurrence in the texts varies accord-

ing to its nature.

Elements such as ‘tree’, ‘flower’, ‘bird’ and ‘animal’

are most frequently depicted in the poems. For example, the vérikai tree pertinent to kuririci tinai is mentioned nearly 100 times in the classical texts. On the other hand, elements such as ‘drum’, ‘melody-type’ and ‘musical instrument’ are not referred to so often; the tontakam drum, 4 77-8.

TPVI, pp. 7-8; also Xavier S.Thani Nayagam, Landscape and Poetry, pp.





for example, peculiar to kuririci tinai, is mentioned only three times in total. Murugan, the god of kurifici tinai, is referred to several times, while Varunap, the neytal god, is not mentioned even once in the early akam poems. The frequency of occurrence may, to some extent, correspond to the importance of the element. Hence some of the elements do not seem to be as important as the medieval scholiasts claim. How specific an element is to a certain tinai also varies according to

each element.

The tontakam drum, for example, is referred to only in

the kuririci texts (3 times), and the vénkai tree occurs mostly in the kuririci texts. However, cirukuti (lit. ‘small - village’), which is said by the savants to be peculiar to kurinici tinai (AV 20; TPN 18, comm.), occurs 21 times in the kurinci poems, 21 times in the neytal ones, 7 times in mullai, 9 times in pdlai and once in marutam. We cannot discover any reason why cirukuti should be related exclusively to kuriici tinai.

Although TP refers to ‘bird’ and ‘flower’ as the elements which occur

not only in a particular tract but also in other tracts, ‘beast’ must also be included in that category since, for example, elephants are often described not only in the kurinci texts but also in the palai poems as ‘thirsty elephants’ (e.g. Kur. 37, 232; Ak. 85, 111).

Thus some elements of karu among those enumerated by the me-

dieval scholiasts do not correspond to those occurring in the actual poems, and are less important for the reading of the texts. 5.3. Classification of the Tinais In the above speculations, we have often mentioned the ‘kuririci poem’ etc. The question now arises as to how we can assign a poem to a particular tinai. A tinai consists of mutal, karu and uri, each of which manifests a number of components. In the majority of the tests, the tinat pertinent to the text reveals itself through these components; for example, in Kur. 66 quoted in the Introduction (Chap. 1), we can distinguish following components: mutal: place - ¢; season - rainy season (mullai); time - ¢ karu:

tree - konrai (mullai)

uri: patiently awaiting the hero's return (mullai). Here all the components of the tinai indicate that the tinai pertinent to the poem is mullai. There are, on the other hand, a considerable number of texts in which

the components of two separate tinais occur together (technically this is termed tinaimayakkam, ‘overlap of the tinais’). We may cite Kur. 343 as an example of this.




In his mountain land a strong, black, male tiger, with open


leaped on a huge, wet-cheeked elephant with a beautiful face, and was killed ... leaving red stains

on white tusks;

now that tiger lies in a cave of split rock,

like a branch of a black-stemmed vérikai tree with old flowers

felled by the west wind: may you prosper, my friend; and resolve

to go away with him.

(tr. M.S. Pillai and D. E. Ludden,

KT, p. 358)

The components of mutal, karu and uri in this poem are as follows: mutal: place - mountain region (kurinici); season — late summer ( Nampi holds the same view as Ilam., most probably influenced by Iam. Concerning the constituents of meyyurupunarcci, Ilam. refers to nine situations, beginning with vétkai (amorous desire) and ending in cakkatu (the dying state) in TP Kalaviyal 9. Nampi, following Ilam., considers these nine situations to be the content of meyyurupunarcci, but he also adds another component, katci, which is not ‘the first look’ mentioned





of eyes






four stages of a ‘prelude’ to ullappunarcci. This notion of katci corresponds to TP Kalaviyal 5 which runs, “the meeting of the eyes of the two is the evidence to determine that they are mutually attached”

(tr. P.S. Subrahmanya Sastri), though this translation is influenced by

Ilam.’s interpretation.* According to Ilam., six mini-themes beginning with meytottuppayiral (the hero touching the heroine’s body to ascertain her inclinations) in TP Kalaviyal 11:1-3 are also components of meyyurupunarcci (though he uses the term iyarkaippunarcci). This has obviously influenced

Nampi, who uses these mini-themes as sub-themes of a ‘union attained

through the wish of the heroine’ (talaiviyin eytum punarcci; AV 127).


TP and JA themselves do not mention whether the physical

union is a sub-situation of iyarkaippunarcci, although commentators on these texts consider that it is.


TP does

not refer to an ‘epilogue’


3” Four virtues of men and women which were first mentioned in IAC 2 (pp. 33-4) are generally cited, whereas in TP two virtues are ascribed to men and three to women respectively (TP Kalaviyal 7-8); this is followed by Nampi (AV 35). Men's virtues in TP and AV: Men’s virtues in IAC:

1. perumai (dignity) 2. uran (strength of will). 1. arivu (wisdom) 2. nirai (moral firmness) 3. orppu

(discrimination) 4. katasppsti (determination).

Women’s virtues in TP and AV: Women’s

virtues in [AC:

1. accam (timidity) 2. nan (modesty) 3. maten


1. ndn 2. accam 3. matan 4. payirppyu (delicacy).

‘4 Nampi’s analysis is mostly a synthesis of TP, JAC, and Ilam.'s comm. of TP.

In the case of iyarkaippunarcci, AV follows TP to a great extent as follows:

TP Kalaviyal


3. aiyam


5. kurspparital


2. kates

4. tuniow

7. talaivarku kunankal 8. talaimakatku kunarkal mov 3. unarces 9. meyyurup

. syarkaippunareci



katkkilas (28, 118)


(127, ef. 32)


(35) wt ullappunareci

} meyyurupunarcct (36)




but, according to Ilam., t#rat térram (expression the hero’s lust]) in TP Kalaviyal 11:5 corresponds mention it either, but Nakkirar elaborates it as ing sub-themes; pirivaccam (the heroine’s fear of first union), vanpurai (the hero’s encouragement),

of the insatiety [of to it. IA does not having the followseparation after the talaivan talaiviyatu

arumaiyarital (the hero’s realization of the heroine’s rareness) (IAC 2).

These sub-themes are treated as independent themes (kilavi) in AV, so we also deal with them in 6.2. vanpurai, 6.3. telivu, 6.4. pirivuli makilcci,

and 6.5. pirivulik kalarikal. There are various expressions representing the theme question, as the following list shows: 1. kamappunarcci (TP 487; IA 2; IAC 2)


2. iyarkaippunarcci

(12 occurrences

in turai;

[AC 2; AV 27, 33,

etc.) munnurupunarcei (IAC 2: cf. TP 112:11; [A 11, 12) teyvappunarcct (IAC 2; Tirukkovaiyar 7; AV 125)




(IAC 2; AV 34, 35)

. meyyurupunarcci (IAC 2; AV 36; TPN 145 comm.) Among them, 5 and 6 are referred to, as seen above, only when the framework of ‘the first meeting of lovers’ is elaborated. Kamappunarcct is used in the older grammars, i.e. TP and IA. Ac-

cording to Nakkirar, it is “a [sexual] union which takes place due to the hero’s and heroine’s increased desire when they meet in a lonely place”

(IAC 2, p. 31), and, according to modern critics, it is explained as,

“the meeting taking place due to the love impulse” (Rm. Periakaruppan, TTCP, p. 85) or “the meeting as it is the result of passion characterized by ardent love” (E.S. Varadaraja Iyer, TPVI, p. 81). But, these traditional renderings stand for a later connotation of the word kamam,

wherein the aspect of sexual desire (pleasure)

inherent in the word is

stressed, most probably, under the influence of Brahmanism, Jainism, Buddhism, etc.,> whereas, in the earlier texts, the term is used in a

broader sense, in which both aspects of love, i.e. the mental and the physical one, are equally stressed.® Therefore, the safest translation of 5


the 6th




to K.V.Zvelebil,

the conception


kalavu ‘pre-marital love’ was not only not honored but even slighted. The venpa quoted as Payiram (Preamble) of Tinaimdlainurraimpatu, ‘One hundred and fifty

stanzas on the garland of settings’, “suggests the reason why these restatements of the ancient akam genre were composed: obviously, the interest in the old literary

conventions and themes was vanishing and there were people who even hated and attacked the conception of kalavu, hence it became

necessary to re-emphasize the

ancient message of love” (ZTL, pp. 119-120). © The Sanskrit words and expressions borrowed are generally found more frequently in the later texts (cf. HTLL, p. 29). however,

it occurs



In the case of kima (kdémam in Ta.),

in the earlier texts;


the other hand,

tnpam or



kamappunarcci may be ‘union on the basis of love’. Iyarkai-p-punarcci is the most popular expression used to represent the first main-event of kalavu. The term iyarkai is often used in the early texts, but in almost all usages, iyarkai functions at the end of

a compound

(i.e. [word]-iyarkai) and has the meaning of ‘having the



of ...” There

19 and

Pur. 35:28.




a few



which it appears as a single word denoting ‘naturalness’ or ‘unartificiality’ in contrast with ‘artificiality’ (ceyarkai) like in Tol. Collatikaram Thus, the compound,

in which

iyarkai stands first

and signifies ‘unartificiality’, may show that it is of later origin.

We do not know much about munnuru-punarcci, lit. ‘happened before union’. According to Nakkirar, it is referred to by a school and so

termed, because “the heroine’s nalam (virtue) has already been taken by the hero and his nalam also taken by her” (IAC 2, p. 37). Teyvappunarcci first appears in Nakkirar’s commentary on JA. The

inpu (DEDR 530(a) “in- sweet, pleasant, agreeable; sweetness, pleasantness; inpam

delight, happiness, sweetness, pleasantness, sexual love, marriage”), a Tamil equivalent for kama, is used more often in the later texts, as is clearly shown in the chart below.

TP IA Kur. Nar. Ak. Ain. Kal. Pur. cil.

Mani. Kural




16 4

12. 29

10 (8

28 4 31 20 20 1 33 2 7

«12—~—Od 0 3 8 8 9 25 «1418 6 10 9 27 6 10 18 5

Nalats. 7 16 5 As for the connotations of these words, kémam denotes ‘love’ in a broader sense in the earliest texts than in the later texts. In Kur. 32, for example, the lovelorn

hero says, “morning, midday, helpless evening, dawn, midnight when the village sleeps; if one can tell one from the other, [his] love is a false one” (kalaiyum pakalum

kaiyaru malatyum tr turicu yamamum vitiyalum enru ippolutu itat teriyin, poyye kamam). In the case of inpam, it signifies ‘pleasure’ even in the earliest texts, as in Kur. 120, in which the hero in distress says to his heart, “O my heart, you want

the rarest thing like a poor man desires pleasures” (illon inpam kamurrdanku, aritu

véttanaiyal neticé). Regarding the subtle difference of meaning of these words, TP 89 provides us with an interesting example: inpamum porulu m-aranu m-enranku/ anpotu punarnta v-aintinas marunkin/ kamak kuttam ...

Aran, porul, and inpam are Tamil equivalents for dharma, artha, and kama respectively, and hence the best translation of inpam is ‘pleasures [of love]’. Anpu in the 2nd line means

“love, attachment,








means, “kéma-kittam which is within the range of aintinai connected with anpu which

is associated






in other


union/relationship based on kémam is also based on both sexual pleasure (inpam)

and mental attachment (anpu). Therefore, the word kdmam in TP and the earliest poetry should not be taken as love in a narrow and limited sense.




term manifests the Hindu notion of karma and rebirth and is explained as the first meeting of lovers “whose seemingly accidental meeting has been preordained in earlier lives” (K. V. Zvelebil, LCAP, p. 3). These four terms, i.e. kamappunarcci, iyarkaippunarcci, munnuruPunarcci, and teyvappunarcci, were considered to be synonymous by Nakkirar (JAC 2, p. 37), and almost all savants have paid little attention

to the








often mix one connotation with another. In TL, for example, all four words (nos. 1-4) are translated as ‘First union of lovers brought about by destiny’, but the only equivalent word for this translation is teyvappunarcci. If these four words were considered to be synonymous by the compilers of TL, they should have defined them as, for example, ‘First union of lovers’ in order to represent the features common to all four. Sp. Manickam renders iyarkaippunarcci as ‘union by nature or destiny’ (TCL, p. 30), but therein we find a blending of the terms, iyarkaippunarcci and teyvappunarcci. These instances reflect a tradition regarding the theme in question, that is, iyarkaippunarcci has been used to express the theme, and teyvappunarcci to stand for its content. The Most appropriate term for this theme will be indicated below. 6.1.2. There are several poems depicting ‘the first meeting of lovers’. As an example, we may cite Ak. 110. If mother finds out, let her.

And if this lovely little street with its loose mouths hears, let it

Before the god at Pukar with swift whirlpools, I swear this is all that happened.

In the grove, I and my garlanded friends played in the sea,

made little houses and heaped up play rice.

Then we were resting a bit,

waiting for our tiredness to go,

when a man came up and said,

“Innocent girls with round, soft arms as supple as bamboo!

The light of the sun has faded and I am very tired. Would there be anything wrong if I ate a guest’s meal

on a soft, open leaf,

and then stayed in your noisy little village?”

Seeing him, we lowered our faces, and, hiding ourselves, we politely replied, “This food is not for you

It is moist fish, eaten only by low people.” Then suddenly someone said, “There, can’t we see the boats coming in with their tall, waving banners?” At that we kicked over our sand houses with our feet. Of all those who were leaving, he looked straight at me and said, “O you who have the lovely face, may I go?”



so I felt I had been ruined.

I answered, “You may,”

and he, staring at me all the while, stood tall, holding the staff of his chariot.

Still it seems to be before my eyes.

(tr. G. Hart, PTA, p.


This poem tells us the following: 1. The hero and the heroine meet accidentally, by chance, and not by destiny. 2. Though

IA 2 and IAC 2

say, “both he and she, not attended by oth-

ers, meet”, there are some ‘others’ (usually, her friends) in company with her at the meeting-place. 3. Contrary to the opinion of some grammarians, the two, skipping over the stages of aiyam (doubt) and tunivu (ascertainment), are attracted to each other from the very beginning. 4. A sexual physical union does not take place at the meeting. These features are common to poems depicting the first meeting. In Ak. 48, her friend (toli) says, “When we in the company of our friends went to gather venkai flowers, there arose a hue and cry like Tiger, Tiger. At the moment a certain gentleman ...stood querying us about an animal ...So saying he got down from his chariot and went away staring incessantly on the lady-love just at night-fall. The lady-love gazed on him till his chariot was out of sight and exclaimed. ‘Ah this is a man’” (tr. Varadaraja Iyer, TPVI, p. 186). In this poem, all four features are described.

In Ak. 82 also, those features are found; therein

the heroine tells her friend, “Many saw him/ as he stood .../ near the entrance of the field of ripe millet/ and asked which way the elephant he was fighting had gone/ ...... / Friend, of all those who saw him,/ why am I the only one who,/ lying on my bed in the night with its difficult darkness,/ my eyes streaming tears,/ feel my arms grow thin?” (tr. G. Hart, PTA, p. 117). Thus in actual poetry, first, the two meet (katct) by chance; second, without the intervening stages of doubt (aiyam) and ascertainment (tunivu), they are fascinated with each other, in other words, they are mentally united (ullappunarcci). The early poets seem to have been fond of the motif of falling in love at first sight, but the later poets and grammarians prefer more dramatic encounters of lovers.’ Third, 7 Some later poems describe more dramatic encounters between lovers, like Kal.

39; “when she plunged and played with us in the rapid stream, she became exhausted and shutting her lotus eyes in affright, she floated down the current. Out of mercy for the drowning maid, the hero, with his garland of long cool fragrant Surapunnai flowers shaking, jumped into the stream and clasping her bejewelled breasts close to his (bosom), brought her safe to the river bank” (tr. R. Balakrishna Mudaliyar, The Golden Anthology, Vol. II, p. 156).

Later, the dramatic encounters like this are



the hero parts from the heroine without having had sexual intercourse

(meyyurupunarcci) with her on the first day, which is quite contrary to what Naklirar, Ilam., Nacc., and Nampi maintain. We shall now consult some poems which are said by commentators to depict iyarkaippunarcci (katci + ullappunarcci + meyyurupunarcci). According to Ilam. (comm. on TP 98), Kur. 40 is a poem in which, when the two meet for the first time (termed iyarkaippunarcci by Ilam.) and before they have a sexual union, the hero says, “What are my mother and your mother to one another, and how are my father and your father

related? How do I and you know each other?” The motif here is obvious

from the following part of the poem, “Our hearts filled with love are themselves mingled as red earth and pouring rain”; that is the wonder of love. The simile, “red earth and pouring rain are mingled”, implies a sexual image, so we may guess that intercourse has taken place.® However, there is nothing in the poem itself to signify a connection with the first meeting; we may regard it as another kind of meeting, e.g. the second meeting, or the meeting with the aid of his friend. Nar. 8, in which

the love-stricken

hero admires

the heroine saying,


daughter is she? Long live her father! May the mother who yielded her prosper like Tonti!”,° is said by a colophon writer and Nacc. (comm. on TP Kalaviyal 2) to represent iyarkaippunarcci, though this poem makes no mention of their first meeting. The traditional interpretations of those poems, however, do not agree with what is depicted by the actual poems quoted above, where lovers do not tell each other of their love. Even though the commentators and later scholiasts derived their ideas of the main-situation, iyarkaippunarcci, from sources other than the earliest poetry, it is evident that they neglected a group of poems which explicitly detail the first meeting of lovers. Apart from the physical union at the first meeting, many poems suggest that a sexual union has taken place even in the pre-marital stage (kalavu), by the following expressions: a. the hero holding the heroine’s shoulders (tol tintal, Kur. 272; tol termed:

1. punarary punarcci (union of a lover with his beloved on the occasion of his rescuing her from being drowned in a flood (TL); IAC 14, AV 177, TPN 114



piittarupunarcci (union of a lover with his beloved on the occasion of his getting

flowers for her from a tree out of her reach (TL); sbed.);

3. kaliru taru punarces (union of a young man with a maiden on his having rescued

her from an elephant (TL); sbsd.). ® The colophon of the poem states, “what is said by the hero after they met for

the first time and physically united”. But, llam. contradicts conventional for the cultured to say so” (comm. on TP 98)


it “because

it is not

yar makalkol ival tantas valiyar ...tonti tan tram peruka wal inra tayé.



manattal, Kur. 36, 50, 101, 193, Ak. 102; tol ataittal, Kur. 268); b. the hero embracing the heroine (manattal, Kur. 25, Ak. 242, Ain.


c. the hero consuming/enjoying the heroine’s virgin beauty (nalam koltal, Kur.













d. the heroine embracing the hero’s chest (marpu muyarikal, Ak. 242, Ain. 220; cf. muyarnkal, Ak. 162). Most poems except those of type d imply that the embrace is the first one (i.e. the first sexual union). In Kur. 25, for example, the heroine recounts how she fears her lover’s infidelity: Only the thief was there, no one else. And if he should lie, what can I do?

There was only

a thin-legged heron standing

on legs yellow as millet stems and looking for lampreys

in the running water

when he took me.'®

(tr. A.K. Ramanujan, /L, p. 30)

But the poem

does not hint when

(for example,

at the first meeting,

or at the second meeting, or even later, at the meeting with the aid of

the maid) the first sexual union has occurred. Other poems referring to the first union handle it in the same way as Kur. 25. Kur. 81, quite exceptionally, tells us that the union took place when the couple met

with the aid of the heroine’s friend, who says to the hero, “She (the heroine) accepted my word which conveyed what you had said. And [as a result] she lost her fresh beauty”! (see also a full translation of Kur.

81 on p. 116). Thus, there are two groups of poetry: one wherein the lovers’ encounter by chance, their being attracted to each other, and their parting without uttering anything about their love, are explicitly described; the other wherein a physical, sexual (probably the first) union which occurs at some point during the pre-marital stage is implied. Technically these two groups are illustrated thus: 1. katei + kuripparital (=ullappunarcci) Qo veces > meyyurupunarcci > --+++> Colophon writers and erudite scholiasts mix these two categories and speak as though both love events have occurred on the occasion of the 10 tan mananta rianré. 1) Gwalé nin cor konta en cor téri ... putu nalan ilanta ..




first meeting; but what they say is at variance with what the actual poems explicitly tell us. In conclusion, let us try to deduce which among the various expressions seen in is the most appropriate for the theme in question: clearly, from the point of view of the actual poetry, it is iyarkaippunarcci, because it makes no suggestion that the meeting has been prearranged by divinity or been preordained in earlier lives (i.e.


As we have seen, the meeting is completely natu-

tal (iyarkai), spontaneous, and accidental. punarcci


‘a sexual


physical union at the first meeting.



The expression of kdmapof the




In this connection, the best English rendering of iyarkaippunarcci

may be ‘the first meeting of lovers by nature’, because the phrase does not contain words denoting either ‘destiny’ or ‘sexual union’.



6.2. Vanpurai ‘Assurance Given by the Hero to the Heroine Fearing Separation’

1) Lit. ‘strength - to cause to happen’: vanpu < val, strong (DEDR 5276)-+uru (DEDR 710, “uru (uruv, urr-) to be, happen; uruttu (uruti-) to cause to be”).


[AC 2, AV 129,

TP 98 comm.,

TPN 101 comm.

TA 53,


209, etc.; about

Cf. vanpuras (vanpuruttal), ‘a theme in which the heroine is comforted by the maid, mainly, during her separation from the hero’; TP 112, turais

IAC 39,



110 occurrences in

6.2.1. This is a theme which comes after ‘the chance meeting - sexual union’, which is, as seen in 6.1.1, termed iyarkaippunarcci by scholiasts. TP and IA do not refer to it, but Nakkirar elaborates the theme in his commentary on IA 2 (IAC 2, pp. 44-5) and elucidates the following procedure: tyarkaippunarcci > pirivaccam +


According to him, pirivaccam (lit. ‘fear of separation’) means both (1)

‘the hero fearing separation’ and (2) ‘the hero causing the heroine to

fear separation’; in other words, (1) ‘he’ fearing separation from ‘her’ says, “I never part from you. I cannot bear [to live] without you” (ninnir piriyén piriyin arrén), but (2) his word only arouses her fear of separation, “Does separation happen?” (pirivu enpatum onru untu). Then he encourages her (vanpurai), saying, “[Whenever you want, you may meet me, because] my place is near” (anittu em itam), and parts from her. In AV, vanpurai consists of 6 sub-themes (AV 129); the former 3 deal with ‘the hero dispelling her doubt about separation’ (aiyan tirttal) and the latter ‘the hero making the heroine know the separation’ (pirivu-


(AV 128).

Judging from his terminology,

such as itam

anittu enral, Nampi seems to be influenced by Nakkirar. TP does not refer to the theme in question. Commentators regard TP 98 (TPN 101) as a relevant sttra to the theme, but their interpretations of it differ fundamentally; according to Ilam., it deals with themes of pre-union but, according to Nacc., themes of post-union.

6.2.2. An old anonymous commentary on AV cites Kur. 40 as an example of the theme, which seems to follow the colophon of the poem, “what he said to her, after their physical union on the first meeting, when

she was afraid

he would

leave her”.


as seen in 6.1.2,




there is no decisive evidence in the poem itself that its theme is ‘the first meeting’ or ‘the hero’s comforting because the heroine fears separation’. It would be better to compare Kur. 40 to Kur. 300, in which the hero’s consolation is distinctly mentioned; “(Listen] when I tell you not to fear. Don’t be afraid of my word. I would not think of foresaking your love, even if I could get the whole world.”!? Though ‘the heroine’s fear of separation’ (pirivaccam) and ‘the hero’s encouragement’ (vanpurai) are explicit in the poem, there is no evidence to show that they occur after tyarkaippunarcci. Some poems depict the hero swearing to the heroine that he will not leave her either before or after their physical union. In Kur. 36,

the heroine says to her friend,


day when

he embraced


good shoulders, he spoke an unfailing oath, saying, ‘I will never leave


In Air. 22, she says, “He spoke nicely, embraced [me], and

uttered [an oath], ‘I shall never leave [you]’”!* (see also Kur. 318, Ak. 320).


as we have seen in 6.1.2, these poems

make no hint as

to precisely when or during which meeting the sexual union takes place. Thus, the pattern, iyarkaippunarcci + pirivaccam —+ vanpurai, referred to by scholiasts cannot be accepted from the actual poetry. What

the actual poetry reveals is;

1. the hero’s words of love (nayappu uraittal, etc.; JAC 2, AV 129) +

the heroine’s fear of separation (pirivaccam) — his comforting her (vanpurat); e.g. Kur. 300; + asexual union > pirivaccam -> vanpurat; e.g. Kur. 36, etc.

Theoreticians seem to have combined these two models into;

a sexual union + his word - pirivaccam — vanpurai and identified the union with the one at iyarkaippunarcci, that is, meyyuru-punarcci, The same terms, pirivu-accam and vanpurai, are used as sub-situations of ‘separation in pursuit of wealth for marriage’ (6.17. varaivitai vaittu porulvayir pirital) and ‘six kinds of separation in post-marital life’ (6.26-6.31), but they are more popular than those connected with iyarkaippunarcci.



arical enra

ninnutas natpé.


col avicalaiyé



vital culalan


13 néyalen yan ena nal-to! mananta rianrai marru avan tava varicinam wraittaty. 14 Gran nalla colli mananty, ini niyen enraty.



6.3. Telive ‘The Heroine’s Confidence in the Hero’ 1) Lit. ‘clarity’; DEDR 3433 “teli (-v-, -nt-) to become clear, ..., become serene (as the mind), ...; telivu clarity, brightness”, etc. 2) AV 123, 130; Iam.’s comm. on TP 92.

6.3.1. This is a theme wherein the heroine confides in the hero when he comforts her saying “I will come again” (pirintuvaruku-enral:

AV 129) or “My place is near (itamanittu-enral: 6.3.2.

[so we can easily meet each other]”

ibid.) and is mentioned only in AV (AV 130).

An old commentary

on AV 130 cites Nar. 1 as an illustration

of the theme. Therein the heroine says;

He is a man of his word, and has long cherished me. Never would he leave these shoulders of mine. Just as the sweet honey is stored up at the top of the sandal tree (by the bee), gathered as pollen from the lotus, so is increased my love for that fine man. Were it

not for his presence I would be like the earth without rain. Could he, wanting me as he does, and fearing that my fair brow would become pallid (with grief), contemplate anything so mean?

(tr. J. Marr, EA, p. 341) Here,

her words,

been sweet.

“He is a man

of his word,

and has long [and] always

He never thinks of leaving my shoulder”,

their relation has lasted for some

tell us that

time, so it is impossible to take the

poem as an illustration of the theme recording the heroine’s confidence in the hero after the first meeting. The commentator on AV may have been under the influence of Ilam. and Nacc., for they give the same poem as an example of a mini-theme

in TP 145 (TPN 147), i.e. “when the heroine talks in high terms of the hero as she knows his mind very well”, in their commentaries on the

sutra, wherein the occasions when the heroine speaks are enumerated. However, judging from the context, ‘anything so mean’ (cirumat) refers

to his parting from her to earn wealth [like bees gathering pollen]. In such a case, her (or her friend’s) lofty words about the hero may be taken

to be ironical.

In Kur.

37, for example,

her friend says,

“He is

full of love [for the heroine]”, but her implication is, “but, he won’t return from his journey”

(see also Kur.

213), and in Kur.

180, he is

ironically referred to as ‘a strong [-minded] man’ for he disregards her sufferrings and makes the journey.

In this connection, in Nar. 1, the

'5 ninra collar nitutors iniyar, enrum en tol pirivu ariyalare.




heroine’s words could be considered as ironical, and hence both Nam. and Nacc. are incorrect. Thus, there seems to be no specific illustration of the theme. Though we may take poems depicting the hero’s oath on their union (e.g. Kur. 36) as examples of it, and may assume that the heroine’s confidence is also implied in them, it is hardly possible to regard those poems as representative of telivu.



6.4. Pirivult Makilcct ‘The Hero Feeling Joy in Love at the Parting from the Heroine after the First Meeting’ 1) Lit. ‘joy at separation.’

2) IAC 2, AV 131, comms. on TP 99. 6.4.1.



‘the hero speaking





to his heart on seeing



the heroine leave’




kilatti celavukantu ulattotu collal), and another ‘{then] telling his friend’ (pakanotu collal). IA does not refer to this theme, but Nakkirar touches

on the theme of the hero’s joy and confusion (kalarikal) on separating from the heroine, mentioning ‘the hero realizing the heroine’s rareness’ (talaivan talaiviyatu arumai arital) (IAC 2). In TP, there is the phrase,

perravali makilcci ‘[his] joy on having got [her]’ (TP 99:7, alias TP Kalaviyal 11:7), which, according to Nacc., happens at the second meeting, in the same place where they first met (itantalaippatu), and according to Ilam., is a sub-theme of both itantalaippatu and parikarktttam

(the meeting with the aid of his friend) and toliyirktittam (the meeting with the aid of the maid). There



two views concerning

one assigns it to a sub-theme


of tyarkaippunarcci


in question;

(in IAC and


and, another to a sub-theme of itantalaippatu [or of later situations] (in

comms. of I]lam. and Nacc.). 6.4.2.

In some poems, such as Kur. 62, 70, and

119, the hero tells of

his joy in love either to himself or to his heart or to his friend. However, as we have seen in the discussion of methodology (Chap. 1), these poems reveal so little about their situation that the readers cannot identify it. That is why explanation vary even among commentators and colophon writers of the poems; e.g. there are three different explanations for one poem, Kur. 62. In other words, the scholiasts only agree if a poem clearly describes a situation. There are many poems, in which the hero tells of his delight or sorrow

in love, but which do not suggest any specific situation.

Such poems

leave room for further analysis and hence may have led the theoreticians to classify them under various situations.




6.5. Pirivulik Kalankal

‘The Hero’s Sorrow on Separating from the Heroine after the First Meeting’ 1) Lit. ‘confusion at separation’: kalankal, DEDR 1303 “kalarku (kalanki-) to be stirred up, agitated, ruffled (as water), be confused, abashed; kalankalturvidity, muddiness, muddy water, perturbation.” 2) TP 99, IAC 2, AV 132-3.

6.5.1. Tol. uses the term pirivulik kalankal in TP 99:7 (TP Kalaviyal 11), but gives no details about its contents. According to Ilam., it is not only a sub-theme of iyarkaippunarcci, but also of itantalaippatu, of parikarktttam, and parikiyirkuttam (TP 99 comm.); Nacc. regards it as a sub-theme of itantalaippatu (TPN 102 comm.): See also 6.4.1. JA does not mention the theme, but Nakkirar (JAC 2), as seen in the previous section, refers to it under the term of ‘talaivan talaiviyatu arumai arital’

(the hero realizing the heroine’s rareness).

hero says,

“It seems

According to Nakkirar, the

to me like a dream that I have



(IAC 2,

p. 46).16 In AV 133, the theme is further divided into 5 mini-themes: 1. when the hero saw the heroine mingling with her friends, he doubts

(whether he has really won her] (aya vellam valipatak kantitu mayamo enral);

2. the hero contemplates making one of the heroine’s friends his mes-


senger (vayil perruytal); . the hero praises the heroine’s nature (panpu pdrattal); 4. the hero admires one who gave birth to the heroine


5. the












In many poems,

the hero reveals his lovesickness (Kur.

129, 156, 184, 206; Nar. 95, 160, 319; Ak. 130, 140; and others).


In Nar.

319, for example, the hero’s sleeplessness is described: “In the midnight of deluding darkness, I think of embracing the lovely breasts of the girl who is so young and innocent, with broad, soft, and bamboo-like arms,

and even when the fish sleep I cannot close my eyes.”!7 But the poem does not imply which night it is. Other poems dealing with the hero’s lovesickness also do not hint at anything related to iyarkaippunarcci, 16 twalas yan eytinén enak karutinan eytiyatu untel kanavépdlum ... 17 mayanku irul natu nal ...tata men panait tol matamsku kurumakal ...vana

mulai muyarikal ulli min kan turicum polutum yan kan turicen.


in some


such as Kur.



79 Airi. 259,




hero praises the heroine’s nature, and in others (e.g. Nar. 8), he blesses one who gave birth to her.

There is only one group of poems in which the hero's lovesickness is mentioned without any mention of a specific situation, so we may consider the theme in question as an ‘isolated theme’ or an ‘isolated episode’ and not as a sub-theme (termed viri by Nampi) of a main-

theme (termed kilavi).!®

18 According to G. Hart, these are the poems in which “the hero tells how hope-

lessly in love he is” (PAT, pp. 220-21).




6.6. Itantalaippatu ‘The Second Meeting of Lovers on the Next Day at the Same Place Where They First Met Each Other’

0) itantalaippatal ( TP 487), srantam ktittam ‘the second meeting’ (Nar. 39t, 155t(1)) 1) Lit. ‘the place (stam) - meeting (talaippatu).’ 2) TP 487, IA 3, AV 27, 134-5; Kur. 62t and Ain. 197t. 6.6.1. Nakkirar brings out the meaning of the phrase itam-talaippatu clearly; itam is ‘the place where they met before’ (mun etirppatta itam; IAC 2, p. 57) and here, the word ‘before’ is proved by another phrase to be ‘the day before’—‘the next day after the first union by nature’ (tyarkatppunarcci punarnta pirrainanru; id., p. 59). Thus the thematic meaning of the phrase is probably the one shown in the caption. According to TP 487, it is the second among the four kalavu themes


itantalaippatu, parikotu talaal, toliyir punarvu).


places all four in the same order as TP, but JA manifests a different arrangement. JA 3 runs, “There are two ways of meeting; the hero,

having united with her as mentioned


(i.e. in the previous

stitra), meets her at the same place [where they met first] with the

aid of his friend (i.e. parikarkuttam); and another is, he who is not accompanied by his friend meets her, who also comes alone [at the place where they met first] (i.e. itantalaippatu)”. Nakkirar annotates IA 3, saying “[the meaning of the stitra is that] itantalaippatu does not take place if panikarkuttam happens, and pankarkiuttam does not happen if itantalaippatu occurs” (JAC 3, p. 58). This can be illustrated as: tyarkatppunarccs —> pankarkittam or stantalaippatu + pankiysrkuttam.

Tirukkovaiyar and Muttuviriyam follow the arrangement shown in IA. 6.6.2. The term itantalaippatu is well-known, but there are only a few poems which are said to incorporate the theme. According to colophons,

Kur. 62, Nar. 39,

155, and Airi. 197 represent the theme of

itantalaippatu.!® In Ain. 197, the hero says: She stands with her head bowed, '9 Pera. takes Nar. 39 and

155 as examples of stantalaippatu in TPP 498, and

Nacc. takes Nar. 39 and Ain. 197 in TPN 102. As for modern scholars, Sp. Manickam says that Nar. 39, 155, and Ain. 197 are examples of the theme (TCL, p. 33) and,

according to Rm. Periakaruppan, Kur. 62 and Nar. 39 are examples (TTCP, p. 130). Their opinions seem to come from the same source, that is, the colophons. index under the caption.

See the



her hair conceals the face,

the tinkle of her shining bangles scares away the crabs.

As the lonely evening


she will offer her breasts of virgin beauty to me.

(tr. Author)

The poem describes lovers standing still on the seashore in the lonely

evening. The meeting does not seem to be their first; nor do they seem

to have met several times, judging from her appearance of shyness and the fact that she does not utter a single word (the same motif is found

in Nar. 39:1-2, 155:8-10). If the meeting is neither the first nor the one which has been repeated several times, should we regard it as the second? The poem does not mention this.

Ain. 197 is a better example of this theme than the other three, although, as already mentioned, Kur. 62 is an ‘unauthentic’ example of

a specific situation (cf. 1.4 and 6.4.2).

Thus we may say that there is

no poem which describes explicitly itantalaippatu.

Subsequently, the question of the theme’s origin may be raised.


we have seen in 6.1, a man and a girl meet each other by chance, for the first time, and are attracted to each other almost at first sight; but

they part without telling each other of their love or about themselves (their name, village, etc.). Therefore, the best way, or rather the only way, for the lovers to meet again is to go back to the place of their first meeting in the hope that they may meet again by accident as they did the previous day. The author of TP 487 may have interpreted the theme iyarkaippunarcci as represented by actual classical poetry, unlike its later connotation, in which love phases, such as the first meeting by destiny, union

of hearts, physical union,

intimate conversation,

etc., are all in-

cluded. That is why it may have been logically necessary for him to intervene the second meeting (irantam kuttam) among the love events in order to interlink them in a serial order. For later grammarians, on the other hand, it might have been important to include itantalaippatu as a love event not from the logical point of view, but because TP had prescribed it as one of the four main events in premarital love, and also because it (i.e. ttantalaippatu) had been traditionally admitted as a significant love-event.



6.7. Parnkar Kittam ‘The Hero’s Meeting with the Heroine at the Same Place Where They First Met with the Aid of His Friend’

0) parikotu talaal (TP 487) 1) Lit. ‘by a male friend - union’; parikan, DEDR 4053 “parku side, neighbourhood, place, companionship, partisanship; parikan friend, companion,


“Union of a hero with his heroine effected

through the aid of his companion” (TL). 2) TP 99, 180-181, 487, [A 3, AV 136-7. 6.7.1.

In TP 487, this is referred to as the third main-theme

of the

four dealing with the pre-marital stage (kalavu). But, as seen in the previous section, JA and other grammars following JA, regard it as the alternative theme to itantalaippatu (IA 3). TP and IA do not elaborate on the theme, but JAC and AV do; according to Nakkirar, it consists of 12 sub-themes (JAC 3) and, according to Nampi who seems to have

mainly followed Nakkirar’s commentary, it consists of 24 sub-themes

(AV 136-7). The present author has summarized and rearranged them

following the formula (main situation + others attached to and depen-

dent on it) shown in TP 487. N.B. ‘nos.’ in the following chart stands for the number of sub-themes. I

pankarktittam —

the lovesick hero approaching his friend; the friend asking him about the matter (IAC nos. 1-2; AV nos. 1-2). [——II_ the hero’s reply; the friend’s admonition and the hero’s rejection of it (IAC nos. 3-4; AV nos. 3-7). III the friend’s consent to help him; the friend’s going to the meeting place to see if the heroine is there; his return and inti-

mation to the hero of the news (IAC nos.



5-10; AV nos. 8-18).

the hero











union AV

nos. 19-22). the hero making the heroine return to her

friends (AV nos. 23-4).

III and IV are the main phases, and I, II, and V are sub-phases attached to and dependent on the main ones, in the sense manifested by TP.



In this connection, the term parikarktttam is usually translated in the narrowest sense (i.e. III-IV), as seen in TL. Concerning TP, both Ilam. and Nacc. regard the passage in Kalaviyal 11 (TP 99) which runs, “when he makes his friend who found fault (with his love-affair] his messenger” (kurrani kattiya vayil petpin), as the

one dealing with a phase of parikarkiittam. As kurrar kattutal (lit. ‘to

show faults’) in TP corresponds to a later term,


these medieval commentators

kalaral (the friend’s

may have assumed


passage in TP to be the one which is relevant to parikarktttam. In this passage, they comment and elaborate on the sequential events of parkarkuttam,

but one should note that the events mentioned

in their

commentaries are all additions which have been added to the original by these savants, and that the short passage in Kalaviyal is the only set phrase relevant to the theme parikarkuttam which we can find in TP. This is one of the conspicuous examples which demonstrates that Ilam., Pera., and Nacc. introduce theories which were developed later when they interpret TP. According to tradition, the hero’s friend (parikan) plays a significant role in the situation parikarktttam, but his figure remains ill-defined. Though TP is the only erudite work that makes a speaker-based analysis and though all speeches by a dramatis persona are covered in a separate sutra in it, Tol. does not assign a separate stitra to parikan. His roles are also infrequently mentioned in other grammars; only within this situation (parikarkuttam), does he play a speaker’s role, and in the themes of pankarkittam and pirivuli makilcci (6.4), he has a listener’s role. A phase of his function in the post-marital situation (karpu) is mentioned in TP 180 (Karpiyal 41)—*“To speak against the hero's word is appropriate to the friend”; but there is no illustration of the phase in

the poems.?!

20 kalarutal, ‘the hero's friend admonishing the hero against his love affair’:

0) kurran kattutal (TP 99), kalari-y-urasttal (1AC 3); 1) lit. “to urge, exhort; to say; to abuse,” etc. (TL); lover from his intentions, as a friend” (TL);


“To dissuade a

2) TP 99, IAC 3, AV 137; turais of Kur. 156, 184, 206, 272, Nar. 201, and Asari. 11.

The counterpart of kalarutal is termed kalerru-etirmarai, ‘the hero’s rejection of the dissuasions of the friend’: 1) lit. ‘dissuasion - rejection’;

2) IAC 3, AV 137; turais of Kur. 58, 132, 280, Nar. 160, and Ak. 130. 2 Tam. cites Kur. 136 as an example of TP 180, but the poem, as we shall see later, describes pre-marital love (kalavu) and hence his citation is unacceptable.

We may take Nar. 121, which is the only poem wherein the friend functions as the

speaker on the post-marital stage (karpu), as an illustration of TP 180. But therein,

the friend does not speak against the hero at all; on the contrary, while returning

after accomplishing his duty, he (a charioteer) encourages him and says, “I drive fast so that you may meet her soon”. There are about 40 poems in which the return




6.7.2. There is no poem which illustrates the theme of in the narrowest sense, that is, ‘union through the aid of we shall first investigate the other phases of the theme four, except phase IV of our classification), and we shall the historical development of the theme.

parikarktittam the friend’; so (i.e. the other then consider

There is no example of the first phase (i.e. the friend asking the hero about the matter when the lovesick hero approaches him) in the poems. The friend is only the ‘addresser’ (speaker) in very few of the poems. According to IAC, Kur. 129 is a case in which the hero replies to an inquiry from his friend: Friend: playmate of young children, who makes them glad;

friend of poets!??

Listen: a small forehead shining near black hair, like the young, white,

crescent moon

appearing on the eighth day,

amidst the vast ocean,”*

has bound me,

like an elephant freshly caught. (tr. M.S. Pillai and D. E. Ludden, KT, p. 52) Here the hero tells his friend plainly how he is pining away from love. Though the poem itself does not refer to the friend’s inquiry, we may regard the situation as presented in the poem as the hero’s reply to

his friend (as explained by Nakkirar).

However, even though we may

agree, and although this is one of the most crucial the hero tells his friend of his distress in love,?4 we the poem depicts a preliminary event leading to the the aid of the friend. The same is true about the 6.5, which describe the hero’s lovesickness, without

examples in which can not agree that union achieved with poems, as given in presenting any clue

journey (vinai murri miltal) is described, and in all of them only role of the friend, who is a charioteer, is to provide a listener for the hero. Thus, there is no poem which illustrates TP 180. 22 ‘poets’, in the original, pulavar. Cf. THP, pp. 112-114; PAT, pp. 148 ff.

23 ‘the vast ocean’, in the original, mak katal. md has several meanings but here, judging from the simile, ‘a forehead (the white crescent moon) shining near black hair (the black ocean)’, ‘black’ is an appropriate rendering for it. Cf. M. Varadarajan,


Treatment of Nature in Sangam

Literature, pp.


24 In Kur.

156, the lovesick hero, wanting to be cured, says, “O Brahmin's son, O


Here ‘a Brahmin's son’ (pérppana makan) is traditionally considered

son of a Brahmin, in your unwritten learning, is there any medicine to re-unite the to be the hero's friend.

However, there is nothing in the poem

to prove it.

It may

be probable that the hero just asks a young Brahmin, who is supposed to be wise and learned, for a cure for lovesickness. Concerning the Brahmin’s roles, see TP 175. Cf. also PAT, pp. 51 ff



which would help to clarify a specific situation, such as ‘after the first meeting ...’ As for the sub-themes in II, there are poems which refer to the

friend’s attempts to dissuade the hero (kalarutal) and the latter’s re-

jection of them (kalarru-etirmarai).?° In Kur. 58, the hero repulses the friend’s admonitions; “O my friend who abuses me! If you could stop [my love] as your duty, that would be definitely good.”*® Here, the phrase ‘abusing friend’ clearly indicates that the friend has discouraged the hero (see also Ak. 130). The theme, kalarutal, is found in Kur. 78; therein the pankan says, “O man of the hills, kama is so stupid, because it has gone to those who

do not realize that it is good”,?” and he points out to the hero the stupidity of falling in love. Though Kur. 204 is said to have the same theme, I presume that its theme is not kalarutal but kalarru-etirmarai. Before

examining the poem, let us first consider Kur. 136, as both of Kur. 204 and 136 were composed by the same author, Milaipperunkantan, and start with the same phrase, ‘kamam kamam enpa, kamam anankum piniyum


Love, love,

they say. Yet love is no new grief

nor sudden disease; nor something that rages and cools.

Like madness in an elephant,

coming up when he eats

certain leaves,

love waits for you to find

someone to look at. (tr. A.K. Ramanujan, IL, p. 60) The expression, “kamam is neither ‘new grief’ (anariku) nor ‘sudden disease’ (pini)”, tells us that people talk of love (kamam kamam enpa) as something evil, bringing trouble, and, therefore unwelcome.

Here, as

U. V. Swaminathaiyer points out, parikan is one of those who make critical mention of love. They are at that moment free from lovesickness, 25

See footnote 20 on p. 83.

26 -abuse’, in the original, sft; cf. DEDR 443 “iti (-pp-, -tt-) to butt, hit against,

kill; n. stroke, blow, push.”

27 malat verpa,

rum pétaimaitté.

...kdmam ydvatum nanru ena unararmattum

cenreé nirkum pe-

Though M. Shanmugam Pillai and D.E. Ludden translate the

passage as “the stupidity of love which comes for people who don't know even a little about what is good” (KT, p. 39), *... unardr’ is not “ignorant people” (ibsd.), but “a person who does not realize its (kdmam, the author) value” (TCL, p. 316), which alludes to the heroine (UVS's commentary on Kur. 78).




so they can, as reasonable men, criticize a lovelorn,

irrational person.

However, kdmam manifests itself even to the rational beings when they encounter an object of love, like a sane elephant (i.e. the hero) who becomes mad when he eats certain leaves (i.e. encounters the heroine). Thus,

the hero exclaims,

“you should not speak so bitterly of me, be-

cause you also are not free from the kamam.” Bearing in mind the above interpretation of Kur. 136, let us examine Kur. 204. According to the traditional explanation, the friend, who

abuses the hero, states therein, “Love, love ...they always talk about love: but love is neither devil nor disease. O man of wide shoulders, if you think of it, love is a sweet, surprising feast,?® like an old cow licking

tender young grass that sprouts on an old high plateau” (tr. M.S. Pillai and D. E. Ludden, KT, p. 42). In other words: They speak badly of love, but love is not so awful as they maintain; if you think about it, love may turn out to be a sweet feast, that is, a splendid thing.

Thus, if we take

the literal meaning, the friend is encouraging the lovesick hero, which is totally contrary to the traditional interpretation of the situation. Hence the translators interpret the friend’s remark as irony and say, “love is so little sweetness among so much misery and pain, just as this tiny grass is so little sustenance in the wasteland” (ibid.; cf. also TPVI, p. 102). However, if we disregard the traditional explanation of the poem and presume that another poetical situation pertains, namely that the hero rejects the friend’s discouragement, the interpretation of the metaphor may differ from what is understood traditionally. The explanation of the metaphor is then as follows: when the proper season comes, new tender grass (a metaphor for the heroine, i.e. her fresh beauty) sprouts even on an old plateau (i.e. this everyday world). Then an ‘old cow’ (i.e. the wordly-wise hero), for whom the sight of new grass sprouting is not necessarily a marvellous experience, enjoys licking it. Likewise, love appears entirely new for one who encounters the object of his love, although love is not new at all. This seems a more probable interpretation than the traditional explanation of the poem, in which the speaker is said to be the friend. A possible reason for the traditional ascription is due to a phrase, peruntoloyé ‘O you of wide shoulders’. The idiom peruntol (big shoulders) is usually used to denote a woman’s beauty,’ but in a few instances, 28 In Ta., viruntu; cf. DEDR 5415 “feast, banquet, guest, newcomer, newness,


29 161 signifies both ‘shoulder’ and ‘forearm’; cf. DEDR 3564 “Ta. tol shoulder, arm. Ma. tél shoulder. Ko. to-! upper arm, elbow to shoulder. Ka. tol(u) the

arm." There are idioms like ‘broad shoulders’ (perun-tél), ‘soft shoulders/arms’ (men-tol), ‘bamboo-like forearms’. In Ak. 271:14-5, we find an example of a good combination of them; “extended and soft forearms resembling a bamboo between joints” (kampin kan itai puraiyum netumen panasttel). The expression, ‘to hold



to denote the manliness of the hero. In this reason, the hero may have been assumed to be the addressee and the friend the addresser. However, if indeed

the friend admonishes

the hero to stop the love affair,

the friend may also have been called.*a man of big shoulders’ because of his superior manner.*° Though there are examples of kalarutal (Kur. 78) and of kalarruetirmarai (Kur.

136, 204), we cannot find any reference in those poems

to the friend’s helping the hero to meet the heroine.

Now we move on to other sub-situations (III-V) of parikarktttam. As mentioned before, there is no text amongst the early classical poems

which describes the union with the aid of the hero’s friend, although, according to colophons of Airi. 171-175, some events of parikarkittam

are serially described in them. Their colophons run as follows: 171. what the hero says when, as he is leaving the heroine after a spontaneous meeting with her, he sees her going away with her friend; 172. what the hero says to his friend, when the friend asks him the reason why he cannot sleep; 173. what his friend says to himself, when he goes to the meeting-place designated by the hero and sees the heroine; 174. what the hero who is thinking about going to the meeting-place, says to himself, when his friend comes back from the place indicated by the hero and informs him that the heroine is there; 175. what the hero says to the heroine: “Please come with your friend when


arranged Judging from be depicted in in a colophon says.

In Air.





he leaves her after a meeting

with the aid of his friend. these colophons, sub-themes displayed in I-V appear to those poems (171-5). However, the subject matter given of a poem does not correspond to what the poem itself 172, for example,

there is no allusion

to a preliminary

situation for parnkarkittam, as mentioned in its colophon. The lassie of bright bracelets has stolen away my heart. Like the roaring waves of the moving sea beside Tonts of the cold region of humming

I do no get sleep even at night.


(tr. P. Jotimuttu,


our viewpoint,

i.e. that a poem

AJN, p. 240)

explicitly describes a specific

{her] shoulders’ denoting a sexual union, can be found in 6.1.2.

30 Though it is almost impossible to say how the hero and his friend address each

other, due to the dearth of examples in the poems dealing the pre-marital stage, some modern scholars cling to the tradi al interpretation of Kur. 204 and say, “The companion ridicules the hero in a satirical manner: ‘A learned person like you has lost the heart to, after all, a maiden!’” (TTCP, p. 131; see also LCAP, p. 13).




theme/situation/event, Airi. 172 should not be taken here as an illus-

tration of the situation. The principle, however, can be applied only to the case of the isolated stanza (tanippatal) because, in the case of narrative poetry like kovai, we cannot always clarify the subject-matter of the poetry by a single stanza of a poem, but only through its entire narrative sequence.


18th decad of Airi., as seen in Chap. 4, is com-

posed in antati, wherein the last line, word or syllable, of the previous stanza is identical with the first line, word or syllable of the following stanza, so that each poem of the decad must be taken as part of the whole, from the point of view of literary form. Hence, we may presume that there is a link between these ten poems in the way they treat the subject. The following is the gist of each stanza of Air. 171-175: 171. she has stolen away my heart;

172. she has stolen away my heart; [That is why] I cannot sleep even

at night; 173. those who are smitten by love of her cannot sleep even at night 174.

and suffer pain; she favoured us, who

as a trysting place;

175. O innocent maiden!

are in distress, with

the fragrant sea-grove

If you love us, please come [again] with the

girl of bamboo-like shoulders and bright forehead. It is also easy to prove that, in point of subject-matter, these five stanzas are connected with one another, so it probably follows that their colophons interpret their contents most accurately. This should mean that there are a lot of good examples of serial events of parikarkittam,

which is, however, not the case. The literary. form of antati and of kovai, in which the decad of Ain. is composed, is not found in the earliest texts,

so we have to ascribe the date of Ain., or at least, this particular decad of Airi., to a later age. Anyhow, this decad and its colophons had a great influence on Nampi in formulating all the relevant mini-situations of parikarkittam (AV 137), as is shown by the fact that he repeats what the colophons say almost verbatim.3! In conclusion, among all themes assigned to parikarktttam by the erudite scholiasts, only ‘the twin themes’, i.e. kalarutal and kalarruetirmarai, are represented in the earliest texts. To trace the development of the major theme, pankarkittam, let us now arrange what we have learned so far in a correct order: 1. the theme kurrarikattutal, which is later termed kalarutal, is referred to in TP 99. Though parikarkittam is mentioned in TP 487 as the 31

AV’s 10-11th themes:

evustattu evviyarrs enral (10) and avan aktu tvvitattu

ivviyarru enral (11). Ain. 191 turas: ninnal kénappattaval evvitattu ettanmatyal enru vindviya parikarkut talaimakan kuriyatu. Cf. [AC's 6-7th themes: syal stam kéttal (6) and iyal ttam kural (7).



third main situation among the four pre-marital ones in terms of

parkotu talaal, the sutra apparently belongs to a later layer than TP 99, because it is included in Chap. 8 of TP (see 2.1.1-2.1.2); 2. in the early texts, poems depicting the twin themes (kalarutal and kalarru-etirmarai) are found, but they do not suggest that these themes are related to parikarktuttam. There is no early poem which contains the theme of ‘union by the aid of the hero’s friend’. Although in Ain. 171-5, some of the serial sub-events of parikarkuttam as mentioned in the later grammars (JA and AV) occur, the stanzas which contain them seem to have been composed later than the main corpus of Cankam literature; 3. in IA, this theme is not elaborated; 4. in colophons (excluding those of Airi.), the sub-themes other than

the twin themes are not found;

5. these sub-themes first appear in JAC 3, or otherwise in colophons of

the 18th decad of Ain.

We may thus trace the development of the theme parikarkuttam as follows: 1. the early Cankam age (TP 98 and the earliest texts): the theme, kalarutal, exists as an isolated episode;

2. the late Cankam

period (7

487, the 18th decad of Airi., turais of

the earliest texts, JA): anthologization of the earliest poems; the fi-

nal codification of erudite works; some isolated episodes (themes) are linked to form a series of love events. An old episode, kalarutal, is taken into the serial events and becomes a sub-situation of pankarkuttam after the model of an old and popular theme of toliyirkuttam (union of lovers with the aid of the heroine’s friend); 3. finally (turais of Air. Chap. 18 and JAC): addition of other complementary events, such as kalarru-etirmarai, ivvitattu ivviyarruc collal (the hero telling his friend where and how the heroine is), punarvu (meeting and sexual union), to the main situation, pankarkuttam. As seen above, no poem describes the union with the aid of the hero’s friend. Hence Nacc. insists, “In parikarkuttam, the hero's friend does not have a role in arrangement of a meeting acting as a go-between, unlike the role played by the maid in téliyirkuttam (the meeting with the aid of the maid). Therefore, the term ‘parikarkuttam’ should be taken as ‘a meeting where the hero approaches the friend’”( TPN 102, comm.).°?. A modern scholar, Rm. Periakaruppan supports him and says, “this explanation is quite in keeping with the tradition found in Cankam poetry” (TTCP, p. 131). However, even though Nacc.'s 32







enratanast talaimakan pankanask kitun kuttamenru kolka (TPN


102 comm.).



explanation of the term is in keeping with earliest poetry, that does not necessarily corresponds to what Tol. itself meant can find confirmation of all (or, at least, reflected in the actual literature,


the literary conventions in the indicate that his explanation by the term. Only when we almost all) Tol.’s descriptions

can we infer their meaning from the

actual usages. Therefore, we will attempt to estimate the reliability of Nacc.’s explanation of périkarktittam only when we have reached an answer to the question of whether or not the descriptions in TP are teflected in the actual poems.



6.8. Panki Matiyutanpatu

‘The Maid Learning of the Love Affair of the Heroine’

0) matiyutanpatutal (TP 125); matiyutanpatuttal (JA 6, TPN 127).

1) Lit. ‘[the maid -] knowledge ~ agreement’: “To discover, as a maid, the love affair of her mistress” (TL): pankt, DEDR 4053 “pankar side, neighbourhood, place, location; pariku side, neighborhood, place, companionship,

lady’s maid,”

partisanship; panki female companion of a heroine,

etc.; mati karpu) pattern. Let us cite Ain. 6 as an example.

“Long live Atan! Long live Avini

May enmity against the king disappear

and his reign last long,” wished my mother.

But I wished,'®*

“May the man from a town with cool ghats,

where the lotus is budding in the extensive pond,

marry [her]

May my father give [her to you]!”

(tr. Author)

As has already been elaborated in 6.18.2, the maid’s father wishes the

heroine to marry the hero. The decad is not a collection of ten solitary stanzas but ‘linked’ poetry, as shown by the form of each stanza,!®° and should be interpreted as one poem—thus, the other poems in the decad all concern post-marital love. In spite of the exceptional nature of the decad (i.e. linked nature), which, as frequently mentioned, implies its late origin, we can regard it as an illustration of the (kalavukarpu) pattern of a later date, when the pattern is more explicitly mentioned. Thus it is proved that the actual poems also refer only to the


yay (lit. ‘my mother’) and yam (‘we’, 1st person plural) in the 3rd line of

the original

(see the next


have been interpreted

maid respectively (see Air. 6 comm.).

as the heroine and the

However, if so, the usage of the pronoun

yam does not fit in with the akam conventions.

In the akam texts, as sanctioned

by TP 217, it is used by either the heroine or the maid when they feel as if they are “one in body and soul” (TCS, p. 207). In the traditional interpretation of the poem, however, the heroine's (yéy) wish and the maid's (ydm) wish are contrasted with each other.

The structure of each poem of the decad may also support our

interpretation (yay denotes the maid’s mother). The first two lines in the original are dedicated to praising the Chera kings, Atan and Avini, about whom we know little; if the heroine, as mentioned traditionally, praises the kings, this poem should belong to the puram genre. In the last three lines, the poet deals with the genuine akam mood, so, if yay is the heroine, she is excluded from the akam (private) world

If, on the contrary, yay is regarded as the foster mother, she, who has nothing to do with the private matter shared by the heroine and the maid, is naturally excluded from their akam world. Hence our interpretation seems to fit the poet's original

plot. The puram element in the decad may give a hint concerning the unusual structure of Aan. (i.e. it begins with marutam poems); Atan and Avini who may

have belonged to the marutam region in the Chera territory may have contributed

to the anthologizing of Asr., although our hypothesis is not conclusive 188

Each stanza of the decad consists of 6 lines and shows the similar structure

(see the chart on p. 50). This structure may suggest that the decad was improvised

as linked




the fact that

the same

phrase is repeated

in several

times in Aimn., there may have been competitions in which the poets competed with one another to improvise linked poetry. According to G. Hart, the repetition of the

same phrase “indicates their folk source” (PAT, p. 180)



(kalavu-+karpu) pattern. 6.26.3. A song incorporating the theme of idvalkkai (newly married life) is sung in a ‘house where a newly married couple live’; this is termed kati-nakar, lit. ‘fragrant house’ (DEDR 1129+3568)'® or kati-manai (turats of Ain. 401-410, IAC 53) or mana-manai (‘marriage-house’, AV 203). Kur. 167, where the foster mother, having been to the heroine's marriage house, tells her mother of her newly married life, is a good example of it:

She mixed the tasty tamarind sauce with her very own hands:

her eyes, like kuvalas flowers, became filled with smoke, from the seasoning; she straightened her unwashed sari,

which had been stained when touched

by her tender fingers, like kantal flowers,

after they had squeezed the thick curds

When her husband tasted it

and said, “It is good”, the face of the girl with a bright forehead

smiled almost imperceptibly.

(tr M.S. Pillai and D.E. Ludden, KT, p. 248)


Ak. 136; Kur. 167t, 178t, 193t, 201t, 228t, 242t; Nar. 266t(2), 283t(2).





Parattaiyir Pirivu

‘Separation on Account of Courtesans’ 0) parattatyin akarcs ‘id.’ (TP 44).

1) Lit. ‘id.’, parattai